Stage 4: Promotions and Planning
You will be connected with a Field School Coordinator and Field School Program Assistant at ISS via email. They will support the administration for your program offering and will reach out to schedule a time for a Field School Renewal Meeting (usually in August for Summer International Field Schools).
New Field Schools: At this stage you will develop and implement a marketing strategy to promote your International Field School, select students to participate in the program, and work on the budget for your program. You will work with a Field School Coordinator from ISS who will support you throughout these processes.
Continuing Field Schools: Your Field School Coordinator will send you a Renewal Form along with the program page and poster from the most recent iterarion of the program. We ask that you complete and submit the Renewal Form to your Field School Coordinator one week prior to your Field School Renewal Meeting. If you are making significant changes to an existing International Field School, see Stage 7: Wrapping Up and Assessment as you will also need to complete the International Field School Renewal with Modifications appendix to the Field School Director Report.
Support and Training for Field School Directors
- You will meet with ISS several times during the Promotions and Planning and Pre-Departure Stages, and will be in frequent email contact with the Field School Coordinator and Program Assistant to update ISS and confirm details. Here are the standard meetings:
· Field School Renewal Meeting (usually August for Summer Field Schools; At this meeting review program details, timeline, deadlines and promotional plan - and renewal form if a returning field school)
· Field School Director Meeting (usually mid-March for Summer Field Schools; At this meeting, get to know other Field School Directors, discuss best practices and tips for in the field, and review SFU Field School Code of Conduct)
· ISS Pre-Departure Orientation (usually mid- or late-March for Summer Field Schools)
· Medical Kit Review (between Pre-Departure Orientation and final meeting; Meet with a Travel Doctor with SFU Health and Counselling Services to review the Medical Kit)
· Final Meeting prior to departure (May – June for Summer Field Schools; Review pre-departure reminders, budget process, and in-field protocols – see more information in Stage 5)
- All International Field School participants are required to complete a mandatory ISS Canvas Program, Field School 101. You are required to review this program so you can see the information and resources that International Field School participants receive. You will receive access to the Canvas program that your students are in once your program is running.
- You are required to have valid Emergency First Aid certification. The Field School Program Assistant will book a First Aid certification course that fits with your schedule, and ISS will pay for this certification. This must be completed prior to the beginning of the International Field School.
- You are encouraged to complete SFU Health and Counselling Services’ Supporting Students with Distress and Thoughts of Suicide workshop (SOS/SID). The Field School Program Assistant will notify you of when these sessions are being offered. You may also wish to participate in the Bouncing Back Online Canvas Program designed for students to help them handle challenges at SFU and beyond.
- We encourage you to review the International Field School Pedagogy section of the Developing and Leading an International Field School website, which includes content on the following topics:
Application Deadline Options: December 1 or January 31
- You can choose between two options for the application deadline for your program: December 1 or January 31.
- It is possible to extend the application deadline for a program from December 1 to January 31. However, in order to administatively support International Field Schools, ISS is not able to provide alternative application deadlines or further deadline extentions beyond January 31 to any International Field School programs.
- If your program requires an early payment, you may want to consider the December 1 deadline as ISS is unable to make program payments until your program is confirmed to run.
- You can see the component of the Field School Application that students complete on the Field School Application page.
- An important aspect of leading an International Field School is considering how you engage with the communities in which you work and how you can facilitate ethical engagement.
- This may be a particularly important topic to revisit with students in the field in programs taking place in developing countries. The below article provides a brief overview of ethical considerations in these contexts.
Tiessen, R. and Grantham, K. 2017. #1: Ethics in North-South Student Mobility. Issue briefs on North-South student mobility. Universities Canada.
Budget: Work on Budget with ISS Administrative Coordinator and Set Maximum Program Fees
- Prior to the first iteration of your International Field School, ISS will open a financial account for your program. This account is owned and operated by ISS and is not permitted to run a negative balance.
- The Calculation of Program Fees section of the budget template will allow you to determine your program fees based on several estimates of participant numbers. You will need to establish a maximum program fee in order to launch the program application. Once this maximum program fee is established and published, the price can never be increased, as students may begin planning to finance their trip based on the initially posted price. For this reason, if any of your costs are still pending, you may want to add a small buffer which you can adjust over time. The ISS Administrative Coordinator will advise you on confirming and publishing your program fees.
- Request updated quotes from organizations providing services for the program at this stage to ensure accurate costs and exchange rates are budgeted. Request this information as early as possible to ensure that promotional materials reflect accurate fees and final budgets do not result in significant surpluses or deficits. You should also enquire about cancellation/refund policies for services providers that do not require contracts at this time.
- You and your academic unit play an important role in promoting International Field Schools, as you have direct access to students that study within the area of the program. We recommend that you and your faculty members promote the program to students in your classes, as well as to students in classes that are prerequisites for the program. We ask that you promote the program widely, both in the Fall and Spring terms preceding the International Field School (for Summer programs).
- Use the International Field School Promotions section in the Renewal Form to develop a marketing plan for your International Field School. This template outlines the ways that ISS supports Field School Directors in promoting International Field Schools as well as suggestions for how Field School Directors can promote their programs. ISS encourages you to develop this Marketing Plan with your Department and Faculty, and specifically to include the Communications staff from your Department/Faculty (if you have one), to ensure they are able to support with the strategies you have identified. Your Field School Coordinator will request that you complete and bring this International Field School Promotions section to your Field School Renewal Meeting, so that you can review and revise this plan together. In determining how to market your International Field School, see Stage 3 – Marketing: Important Program Considerations.
- Review the Study Abroad Field School Application webpage to familiarize yourself with the content and the information provided to students.
- Prior to publishing your website and launching the formal promotions for the program, it is required that you have all of the information for the program, including the locations, dates, itinerary, courses, and maximum program fee. This allows students to make informed decisions surrounding their applications and plan their prior academic terms accordingly so that they can meet prerequisites if they intend to participate. Prior to publishing your website, you may wish to slightly adjust the eligibility requirements and/or student selection criteria from year to year. Once eligibility requirements are made public, they should not be changed for that iteration of the program. Eligibility requirements and student selection criteria must be applied to all students equally. Once information about the program is published, it should not be substantively changed.
- You will be listed as a key contact to answer students’ questions regarding course prerequisites, content and structure of the program so that students have the information they need to decide whether to apply for the program.
- You must be familiar with the conditions of the program that may impact students with disabilities so that you can properly inform students of the conditions so that they may make informed decisions about their participation in the program. These conditions are required to be included on your program wepage. The Field School Director must not ask students to disclose about any disabilities that they may wish to be accommodated, but rather encourage them to meet with the Centre for Accessible Learning (formerly Centre for Students with Disabilities) to arrange for accommodation on the program.
- Determine your program dates, including both those at SFU and in the field in order to include accurate information in your promotions.
- Bookings: Prior to your application deadline you can begin making tentative bookings so long as there is no financial commitment.
- Coordinate hiring any necessary staff. You may hire faculty, research assistants, foreign academic staff, general International Field School assistants, or volunteers to assist with your program. Hiring an individual for an academic-related appointment at SFU (e.g. sessional instructor, lab assistant, research assistant), must be done through your department. Hiring for a non-academic appointment and for guest lecturers (e.g. contract for an International Field School assistant) can be done with the assistance of ISS.
- Work with your department to confirm a Back-Up Field School Director in the event of unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from leading the program. ISS will ask who this will be at your initial planning meeting.
- Through your department, coordinate classroom space for SFU on-campus classes prior to departure.
- ISS will coordinate the agreements and contracts, either assisting you in negotiating agreements directly or connecting you with SFU International who will support you (depending on the type of agreement or contract). You will be required to review the contract and liaise between the organizations providing services for the program and SFU, ensuring that the organizations have read and are prepared to sign the agreements. Stage 3: Agreements and Contracts outlines when an agreement or contract may be required.
Student Selection: Interviewing and Selecting Students
- Once your application deadline (December 1 or January 31) has closed the Field Schools Program Assistant will review your applications for eligibility and completion. Once done, they will email you the instructions of how to review applications in ISS’ system, including notes they have made about each application. In most cases, you will receive this email within a few business days of your application deadline.
- ISS recommends you conduct interviews as part of the student selection process. ISS can provide templates of interview questions, although we are not able to schedule interviews or participate in the actual interviews. The application deadline you choose along with whether or not you plan to hold interviews will impact your field school timeline. You will therefore need to decide at (or before) the Field School Renewal Meeting whether or not you plan to conduct interviews. See SFU Field School Application Interview (login required) for a set of interview questions we recommend you adapt to your program.
- Review student applications and send a list of accepted students to the Field School Program Assistant as per instructions in the email you will be sent.
- Select students according to the eligibility requirements and student selection criteria. In selecting students, Field School Directors and all those on the selection committee must adhere to the SFU Human Rights Policy (GP 18).
- After you have selected students and the Field School Program Assistant has sent acceptance notifications to accepted students, these students then have a four business day window in which they can opt out of the program without being responsible for paying the program fees. During this four day window, you are encouraged to reach out to the students accepted into the program and send them a Welcome Letter/Email. A Welcome Letter initiates a dialogue between you and the students, providing them opportunities to ask any questions before committing to participating.
- After students are accepted into the program, ISS will encourage students requiring disability accommodations to connect with the Centre for Accessible Learning. The University must provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship, – as per SFU Accessibility for Students with Disabilities Policy. Field School Directors must make reasonable modifications to International Field Schools to support access for students with disabilities who are registered with SFU’s Centre for Accessible Learning. SFU’s Centre for Accessible Learning can provide support on this.